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Nov 8, 2007 11:20 AM

Non-dairy dessert tips

I'm looking for some non-dairy dessert tips for a synagogue potluck coming up. The meal is kosher meat, so it has to be dairy, although not necessarily with all kosher-certified ingredients.)

I'm thinking of baking chocolate chip cookies (with bittersweet, not milk chocolate chips) and an apple cake. I'm pretty sure I can substitute margarine for butter, but am I wrong about that? Am I missing hidden dairy anywhere here? Do I need to rethink and come up with other things to bring? If so, any suggestions? Easy recipes only - I'm not the world's greatest baker!

I also need to make sure whatever I make will either keep for a week or freeze well, because I'll have to do the baking the weekend prior to the potluck.

(I figured this post belonged in Home Cooking, not Kosher, because lots of non-kosher-keeping folks like vegans and the lactose-intolerant would have non-dairy expertise.)


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  1. Rather than making a a dessert in which you have to substitute margarine for butter, why not offer a fruit dessert which won't require you to make any substitutions?

    I have two recommendations using pears which are widely available at this time of year:
    Pears Poached in red wine (Also Google the Italian name: Pere al Vino)
    Pears Poached in Port wine

    1. vegan friends consistently request my rice pudding made with coconut milk. heavenly. added also is sugar, vanilla, and some rum

      6 Replies
      1. re: TSQ75

        TSQ75, that sounds delicious. would you share a recipe?

        1. re: alkapal

          Coconut Rice Pudding

          *dairy free! These proportions make a good sized batch that you might take to a party, so portion accordingly.

          3 cups plain white rice (or jasmine rice)
          4 ½ cups water (1 ½ cups per cup rice)
          ½ tsp salt

          3 cans Coconut milk (regular or lite)
          1 cup dark rum
          1 cup sugar (raw sugar works nicely here)
          2 tbsp Vanilla
          Shredded or flaked coconut
          *you could also substitute with Malibu coconut rum

          Cook your rice: Add to a large pot, your rice, water, and sugar, bring to a boil. Boil for a minute, stir once, and then turn down to medium heat. Allow to simmer for just about 15 minutes, until the water is just about absorbed and everything is still pretty moist.

          I typically use raw sugar, which has a time dissolving, so i mix the sugar in with the alcohol, vanilla and coconut (if usisng), and let everything flavor eachother while the rice is cooking.

          Begin to stir in 1/3 of your coconut milk, slowly, stirring as you go and letting the milk start to get absorbed. Cover and let it absorb for a few minutes on med-low heat.

          Uncover and add 2nd 1/3 of the milk. Add the rum/sugar flavor mixture to the pot. Stir constantly to prevent it from sticking, and to allow all the starches to release and get creamy. Let this absorb a bit.

          Add the last of your milk until you feel like its at the right consistency for you, it’ll get a bit thicker as it cools. Taste and adjust the flavors as necessary. The alcohol will have cooked away, but you should have a nice rum flavor.

          I tend to like my rice pudding thick, but you might like yours a bit runnier, add more milk as you see fit.

          1. re: TSQ75

            tsq, thanks for your fine recipe. it looks as if you make the rice a little "needy" for the moisture in the coco milk -- i.e., using only 1 1/2 C water per cup of rice, rather than two cups, right? i look forward to trying this real soon!

            1. re: alkapal

              i've found that while standard long grain rice needs 2C of water per, jasmine rice only really needs 1 1/2...weird

              1. re: TSQ75

                i'm used to the 2 cup ratio for basmati, our typical rice in pantry. your recipe makes me think of risotto.

                1. re: alkapal

                  the process? i guess its very similar...capitalizing on the starch for creaminess...

      2. One option is tofu chocolate mousse. Very simple and vegan friendly (if you use non-milk chocolate). The way we make it at home is:
        Take 1 block of firm tofu (extra-firm is a bit too soft, soft tofu comes out a bit too soft but you may have to experiment depending on the type of tofu you get) and drain well. I like to press the tofu under some cans for about 15 minutes to drain it well.
        Put in a food processor and chop coursely.
        Melt 1/2 to 1 full bag of chocolate chips in the microwave or double boiler (depends on how chocolatey you want it).
        Put in food processor with tofu and mix until very smooth.
        For some this is sweet enough, for others adding some sweetener such as sugar or honey is needed.
        Chill and serve.
        Very simple. I've served it to people without telling them it wastofu and they never guessed it was tofu!

        1 Reply
        1. re: alsaman

          I've never had tofu chocolate mousse, but the olive oil chocolate mousse from the Times last year is the best mousse I've ever had and completely dairy free.

          Time: 30 minutes plus 24 hours’ refrigeration (and you can refrigerate for a pretty long time before it gets too hard, just give it an hour to loosen up before serving).

          11 ounces bittersweet (60 percent cacao) chocolate
          8 large eggs, separated
          3/4 cup sugar
          1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
          2 tablespoons kosher for Passover brandy.
          1. In a double boiler, melt chocolate over low heat. Cool slightly. Beat egg yolks with 1/2 cup sugar until light. Whisk in olive oil, brandy and melted chocolate.
          2. Using an electric mixer, whisk egg whites until soft peaks form. Add remaining 1/4 cup sugar, whisking until stiff but not dry.
          3. Fold whites into chocolate mixture so that no white streaks remain. Spoon into an 8- or 10-cup serving bowl or divide among 8 or 10 dessert cups or glasses. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 24 hours before serving.

        2. I think your ideas are great. Recipes that utilize oil instead of butter, or subbing margarine for butter, both work. It might not be quite as delicious, but it will work.

          1. Yes, you can substitute margarine for butter. There are some very nice apple cakes made with oil. I discovered that they tend to be called "Jewish Apple Cakes." I personally like the one made in "The Way We Cook: Recipes from the New American Kitchen" by Sheryl Julian and Julie Riven because it layers the apples in two layers, between cake batter, and it comes out cuter than when all the apples are mixed into the batter. HOWEVER, I don't think an apple cake will keep for a week! Nor would any other fruit-y cake. A pound cake ages well but it would, in my opinion, not be the best made with margarine.

            If you want to make the cookie batter before hand, blop it in individual cookie sizes on a baking sheet, freeze, then transfer to a bag, you can do the mixing beforehand and bake closer to the time of your potluck. Chocolate cookies taste much yummier freshly baked.